Get out the holy water – They’re back! “The Lost Boys: 35th Anniversary Edition”
Updated: Jan 9
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
(1) Kiefer Sutherland plays David, the eternal leader of the “blood-sucking Brady Bunch.” (2) Sam Emerson (Cory Haim) and vampire hunter Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander) encounter David at the Lost Boys cave hideout.
(Click an image to scroll the larger versions)
“THE LOST BOYS: 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION”
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital copy; 1987; R for horror, violence, and profanity; Streaming via Amazon Prime Video (4K), Apple TV (4K), Movies Anywhere (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)
Best extra: Commentary with director Joel Schumacher (4K disc, Blu-ray & digital)
EIGHTEEN WAS the perfect age to play a teenage vampire in Joel Schumacher’s 1980s cult favorite “The Lost Boys.”
Kiefer Sutherland (“Flatliners,” “24” TV series), sporting a Billy Idol punk-like mullet, was 18, playing David, the eternal leader of the “blood-sucking Brady Bunch.” Billy Wirth (Dwayne), was also 18, as were Brooke McCarter (Paul), and Alex Winter (Marko, and “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”), who had just turned 18. “So that’d be the Lost Boys,” Schumacher says during his commentary. It was his follow-up to “St. Elmo’s Fire” (1985), with its Brat Pack cast – Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Mare Winningham, and Emilio Estevez as recent college grads embarking on the real world.
Another lead character of “The Lost Boys” was the coastal community of Santa Cruz, California. Located 70 miles south of San Francisco, it featured a vintage boardwalk amusement park, great surfing, and lush redwood-covered mountains nearby as seamless backdrops. “I really felt if you were a teenage vampire, you would definitely live in Santa Cruz at this time,” the director says. City officials demanded the city name be dropped for the fictitious town of Santa Carla, “because they didn’t want to be known for teenage violence,” he says.
(1) The Lost Boys - Billy Wirth (Dwayne), Brooke McCarter (Paul), and Alex Winter (Marko). (2) The Emerson family relocates from Phoenix to a small Northern California town. Older brother Michael (Jason Patric) rides his motorcycle during the last hours of the trip, as they pull into their grandfather's driveway. (3&4) Lucy Emerson (Dianne Wiest) and her father Grandpa Emerson (Barnard Hughes).
The production was originally scheduled to be directed by Richard Donner (“The Omen,” “Superman”), hot off the heels of “The Goonies,” hence its “Goonies” like-story, but with R-rated horror. But Donner got tied up directing “Lethal Weapon” (1987), with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The limited budget of just under $10 million meant Schumacher had to keep the production rolling. “We didn’t have a lot of time or money, so one of the choices was to really not show the vampires as vampires, or that they could fly until the end,” he says. “We couldn’t afford any of the visual effects. Everything was done in camera, except for two green-screen shots.”
“The Lost Boys” story circles around the Emerson brothers, Michael (Jason Patric) and the younger Sam (Cory Haim), who’ve just relocated from Phoenix, Arizona, to the small Northern California town – called the Mass Murder Capital – with their divorced mom Lucy (Dianne Wiest). They’ve moved in with Grandpa Emerson (Barnard Hughes), the town taxidermist. Wiest had just won an Oscar for her role in Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986). First night in the town, Michael falls for the striking Star (Jami Gertz), who turns out to be David’s girlfriend and fledgling vampire. She invites Michael to join them.
The droll Frog brothers Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander) run the boardwalk comic book store, advising Sam they’re the town's vampire-hunters. Schumacher says, “I told them they were Marines, and no, they don’t think they're funny… They’re going to kill vampires.”
Over the years, many consider “The Lost Boys” Schumacher’s best film. It’s landed within a number of top vampire movies lists: IGN website selected it No. 20 in its top 25; Rotten Tomatoes picked it as its Top 5 of essential 30 list; Esquire Magazine selected it No. 9, and Entertainment Weekly cataloged it within its 32 best vampire movies in no particular order.
(1&2) Michael and Sam Emerson attend an outdoor concert on the Boardwalk, as Michael spots the striking Star (Jami Gertz), who turns out to be David’s girlfriend and fledgling vampire. She invites Michael to join them. (3) Wife (Inez Pandalifi) of security guard Vernon Beasley (J. Dinan Myrtetus) posts a missing sign for her husband on a community bulletin board loaded with missing people signs. (4) Lucy is shocked by the number of missing signs.
The enclosed Blu-ray and digital platforms include the nearly 20-year-old featurette, “The Lost Boys: A Retrospective,” with interviews from Schumacher, Donner, cinematographer Michael Chapman (“Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull” & “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” 1978), and the cast. Donner’s wife Lauren, who’s also a Hollywood producer, had overseen Schumacher’s first film, “Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill” (1979), a TV movie, and suggested him as a replacement director. Most of the young cast at the time were “relatively unknown,” except Feldman from “Goonies” and “Stand by Me,” in which he co-starred with Sutherland. Schumacher had kind words for his lead vampire. “Kiefer’s a born character actor. And, he has the least amount of dialogue of anyone, but his presence is extraordinary.” Edward Herrmann was eager to play Max, the video store owner and Lucy’s love interest. “I thought this was great. Anything to get out of a suit and stop playing historical characters.” Herrmann had recently played Alger Hiss and, years earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt during two TV mini-series.
Sutherland recounts how “The Lost Boys” became a cult classic. “It made it – financially, for the studio, and made an impact since day one. But you started to see it in art-house midnight showings and it became a Top 5 video seller (VHS & DVD) for Warner, and grew from generation to generation.”
Four more carryover featurettes are included: “Inside the Vampire’s Cave” broken into four mini-segments – “Director’s Vision,” “Comedy vs. Horror,” “Fresh Blood: A New Look at Vampires,” and “The Lost Boys Sequel.” Then there’s “Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom,” the prosthetic effect expert; “The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers,” and “A World of Vampires” highlighting stories of the undead from China, India, Australia, Eastern Europe, Greece and Mesopotamia, Great Britain, and Central and South America.” A handful of deleted scenes are also provided.
(1) Sam runs into the Frog brothers, Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander) at their comic book store on the Boardwalk. (2) Edward Herrmann as Max the local video store owner, and soon-to-be the boyfriend of Lucy. (3&4) Michael follows the Lost Boys on a late-night motorcycle ride along the beach and ends up at the Lost Boys hangout where he keeps an eye out for Star.
Schumacher and Chapman captured “The Lost Boys” with anamorphic lens in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, which at the time was an oddity. Warner scanned the original 35mm camera negative in 4K for this anniversary edition, and the results are striking on the 4K and the Blu-ray. It shows an excellent level of natural film grain from start to finish, with a more refined structure on the 4K, even with the challenging scenes filmed at night. Most of the interiors and the cave sequence were filmed on soundstages at Warner Brothers in Burbank.
HDR10 grading was applied on the physical disc creating deep, dark shadows and controlled highlights. The digital version gets the more advanced Dolby Vision for more detailed scene-to-scene and frame-to-frame adjustments. The 4K is slightly darker and the facial toning is neutral, while Chapman adds dramatic lighting to the night scenes. The maximum light level peaks at 998 nits, with an average light level of 281 nits.
There’s no upgraded Atmos soundtrack, but it carries over the effective six-channel DTS-HD Master from at least a decade ago. There is a wide soundstage – especially during the many music homages from covers to ‘80s pop originals starting with the opening title sequence, “Cry Little Sister” (Theme from "The Lost Boys") by Gerard McMann; “To the Shock of Miss Louise” by Thomas Newman; Echo & the Bunnymen cover The Doors' “People are Strange”; “Good Times” by Jimmy Barnes and INXS; “I Still Believe” from Time Cappello; “Lost in the Shadows” by Lou Gramm, and Roger Daltrey covers Elton John’s classic “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
It's a first-rate 4K remastering for the ‘80s horror classic, already sold out on Best Buy’s exclusive 4K & Blu-ray steelbook version.
— Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer
(1) Sam and the Frog brothers believe Michael has become a vampire. (2) Star seduces Michael. (3) Sam, Edgar, and Alan believe Max is also a vampire and they put a mirror in front of him. (4) Michael must wear sunglasses since drinking a bottle of blood.